Roads Less Traveled

One of my goals in life is to visit all 50 states.  I don't think it's an especially original goal.  Honestly, I don't understand how people can look at a map of their country and not think, "I want to see all of it!"  It happens though.  I had a friend in college whose grandmother didn't leave the state of Alabama until she was in her 60s.  I lived in Alabama at one point in my life, so I can say with some experience that that thought is incredibly depressing.  

There are areas that are harder to get to than others, though.  Alaska and Hawaii are obviously not the easiest to visit.  Other places just don't jump out as major tourist destinations, at least for me.  Last July, though, I was able to see a lot of the country that I wasn't sure that I would ever get to see.

 I flew out to Minnesota with my girlfriend, rented a car, and we spent the next several days driving around that area of the country.  We covered 1600 miles and saw parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Iowa.  It was a lot of time in the car, but the roads were great, traffic was generally light, and the scenery was fantastic.  Other than a traffic snarl in Deadwood, SD due to construction, I had a wonderful time driving the hundreds of miles that we covered.

And since I'm the sharing sort, here are a few of the pictures:

It's hard to grasp what "the sky is so big there" really means until you're in a place where you really can see for miles and miles into the distance.

It's hard to grasp what "the sky is so big there" really means until you're in a place where you really can see for miles and miles into the distance.

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site museum was still a work in progress when we visited, but it should be complete now.  If you get there early enough, you can get tickets to visit one of the launch control centers.  We were not that early.

We did, however, go visit a decommissioned missile silo...

...with disarmed missile still inside.  

This one picture doesn't remotely do it justice, but Badlands National Park is an absolute must-see.  The landcapes there are amazing.

I couldn't visit South Dakota without making a trip to Mt. Rushmore.  I recommend going early to beat the crowds. 

I couldn't visit South Dakota without making a trip to Mt. Rushmore.  I recommend going early to beat the crowds. 

Devil's Tower, Wyoming.  As a sci-fi and movie fan, I had to see this location from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

I have more pictures from the trip.  Many many more.  I didn't show you Wall Drug or the geographic center of the United States or the hobos statue.  Maybe some other time.  Or, even better, you could go see them yourself.  South Dakota is actually a fantastic place to visit.

- Alan Decker

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